Clark and Lois’s wedding is interrupted when the Planet Apokolips itself enters the solar system on a crash course with Earth. Meanwhile, Lionel Luthor plans to use Tess’s heart as the last piece needed to resurrect Lex. In the final episode of Smallville, Clark must come to terms with his past, present and future in time to save the entire world, and become its greatest hero.
SE 10: Episode 216 & 217 “Finale”
The first episode in the two-part finale is a little slow. It focuses mainly on Lois and Clark’s relationship, as they each go back on forth on whether or not to actually get married. Thankfully, the situation is finally resolved, albeit in rather mushy fashion. But that’s the thing, Smallville was designed to be a dramatic show first, and an action/adventure series second. You weren’t going to get out of there without some heavy chick-flick moments.
Clark’s old doubts return, this time coming from his friends and loved ones, who feel that now that he’s got himself together, perhaps he’s gone a little too far, and is now over-confident. I’m not sure where the idea came from that cutting himself off from his past was a good one, but it serves as a good metaphor for the series here at the end. It seems the one thing that Clark has always lacked was balance. Balance between Smallville and Krypton, his past and his future, and between Clark Kent and Superman. These are all things that must be kept in balance, and I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that once Clark gets himself together, Lex returns, who is the balance to Clark’s goodness.
The Evil Oliver and Gold K rings gave both him and Chloe something to do. Chloe stopped the wedding and saved Clark’s powers, and Oliver got to be redeemed and take down Granny and her cohorts. I’m still not a hundred percent on how he defeated them with simple arrows. Was it his pure heart, or did he have those gleaming arrow heads made out of fragments from the Bow of Orion?
Probably the best moment of the entire two hours, and the one that really made it feel like Smallville’s finale, and not Superman’s Prologue, was the scene in the barn between Clark, Jonathan and Martha. The pep-talk they give him was so perfect, ending with simply “It’s time,” as Clark runs off and his parents watch as he goes to work. More so than even the return of Lex, this scene is what closes the loop and resolves what is truly the most important relationship on the show, that of Clark with his parents.
For sheer entertainment value, the return of Lex started out great, but faltered towards the end! Lionel, who now looks like a demented old prophet himself, stitching Lex together like some Frankenstein monster was eerie and godless. Lex’s face-off with Clark was perfect because, with so many villains already, it was poetic to have Lex’s last lines to Clark essentially be a pep-talk, especially since Lex was Clark’s friend at the very beginning. The whole gentleman villain, who wants to defeat Superman and not Clark was glorious, and it really makes me mad that they made Lex forget everything.
I mean, what is the point of Lex Luthor, if he isn’t THE LEX LUTHOR we’ve been watching for all these years. It makes his journey pointless. It felt like the writers just bowed to the pressure of the Mythology, which states that Lex doesn’t know Clark is Superman. But there was no reason for OUR Lex to forget that. Just make it clear that he wants to defeat Superman and not Clark. I’m afraid I’m going to have to use my discontinuity card on that last bit.
Tess’s death was also unsatisfying. She had been built up into a well-rounded character all her own, and it felt like they just killed her off because it was a finale and SOMEONE had to die. I think I would have liked it better of Lionel did manage to give Lex Tess’s heart, only to have Lex kill Lionel for that and put Tess on life-support, promising to take care of her forever. It would have given Lex a surprisingly humane twist, and yet still played into his whole screwed up family ties.
Given the issues with Clark’s past raised this episode, it figures that the show would essentially end on “Clark’s Greatest Hits.” Remembering all his best moments was a great way to give Clark the confidence to finally fly and become Superman. Not to mention it got a lot of special effect shots in there for essentially free.
After ten years, it would have been a sin if Clark hadn’t flown and worn the suit in the final episode. Still, we didn’t get a clear shot of Tom Welling in the Superman suit, since I’m willing to bet he didn’t wear it. But hey, it was enough that CLARK actually wore it.
Lois Lane with the President on Air Force One, being Superman’s first rescue was perfect. As was Superman’s first public feat being saving the whole world from Apokolips, and essentially saving Metropolis from a meteor ala every comic from the 50’s. All that was pitch-perfect and could not have been improved upon.
The Flash Forward at the end had some great moments. Superman’s story being broken down into a children’s bedtime story, complete with Gary Frank art no less, just fit so perfectly. I’m glad that Chloe lived through everything, and even had a son with Oliver. The Lois and Clark stuff we had pretty much seen before in other Flash Forwards, but I just can’t get enough of that. Aaron Ashmore and Michael McKean returning as Jimmy (Jr) and Perry White was just icing on the cake, as was Lex being elected president.
The final shot of Clark tearing open his shirt to reveal the S-Shield needs no words. We all felt the same thing, I’m sure.
Endings on TV are usually sad. Characters typically move away, quit their jobs, leave their friends, etc. Basically, they are a big sign that reads “The Party’s Over.” No more adventures, no more fun times. But with Smallville, you know that the fun is only beginning. You know that the day after the Apokolips incident, everything went on, pretty much exactly as it has all these years. Everyone is still out there, having adventures, righting wrongs and saving the day. You can even read about them in Superman comics every month.
So for ten great years, to all the actors, writers, directors, crew and everyone that made Smallville what it was, we the fans just want to say thank you for keeping the myth alive.
Up Up and Away!